the basics of web design


One of the best ways to learn how to design great websites is by studying them. The sites listed below are examples of what we think are well-designed sites. You may or may not agree and that's fine. Since web design is an art as much as it is a craft, there is plenty of room for subjective interpretation and personal preference; however, we believe that by studying well-regarded designs, it is possible to see common principles and themes at work and incorporate them into your own practice.

The first time you visit the sites, try not to analyze them too much. Just look around and see how the site makes you feel. After some time has gone by, go back to the site and notice everything else: quality and quantity of writing, typography, graphics, photos, use of color and space, layout,  navigation, accessibility, use of video and audio, overall content and how current it is, and how well the site fulfills its function or mission.  

We tend to like sites that are true to their mission and unified thematically, no matter how simple or complex their purpose is. If a site can fulfill its promise to be what it says it is and do so in a visually appealing way, then that's the definition of great design.  Think of a Lamborghini or Ferrari---they fulfill their mission in an elegant and beautiful way.  It is the same thing with well-designed websites.

Well-Designed Commercial Sites  

You can also visit The Webby Awards and check out the most recent nominees.

If you know of a site that has a great design and think it should be listed here, please email us at , and we would be happy to check it out.



If you have any expertise in any area of web design and development, we would love to hear from you. We are looking for people who are passionate about design and who don't mind sharing their knowledge with others by way of a lecture or lab format. Most of our lectures run between 50 to 90 minutes, and we like to to tape them for our instructional library. We can also offer a modest stipend for your time.